Perhaps it’s my inner Melburnian saying this but I love a good laneway. In Melbourne, you’ll find small bars, great restaurants and boutiques hidden away. This is no different than what’s on offer in one of Top North Queensland‘s cities who have managed to strike the right balance with their latest – and hippest – dining precinct.
Located in the heart of Townsville, City Lane was created as a dining and entertainment precinct to offer locals something not found before in Top North Queensland. Since its launch in 2014 the laneway has thrived and been a big hit amongst both locals and domestic and international guests.
Alongside street art in the adjacent parking lot, along City Lane you’ll find the Paleo Cafe, The Courtyard – Americana street food, beer garden and garden gnome hangout; Donna Bionda – an Italian restaurant specialising in wood fire pizzas, Sakana – a sophisticated sushi bar and restaurant, and Shaw & Co – Townsville’s bar with balls.
An Evening at Shaw & Co
One restaurant, in particular, caught my eye as I walked along City Lane. The black glossy subway tiles, dim lighting and copper fittings of Shaw & Co stuck me as something more akin to what I’d see in Melbourne than in the heart of Townsville, a place better known for its bright colours and beachy vibe.
One of the original restaurants on City Lane, Shaw & Co has class and attitude. With the slogan ‘bar with balls’ you better believe it!
In all honesty, it’s the menu that influenced the slogan. Combining meatballs, dumplings (more balls!), craft beers and inventive cocktails it’s a place that leaves you curious to see what they serve.
It was from across the room that I spotted the drink I knew I had to taste. The Fairy Floss Windmills, a cocktail combining Bacardi, lemon juice, cranberry juice and a towering serve of fairy floss, surely has to be Shaw & Co’s signature. Bold, sweet and a little dazzling; if you’ve got a sweet tooth, this is the drink for you.
It’s the bar with balls so I wanted to try something from both sides of the menu.
From the meatball sections, I went with the Classic beef balls with Italian tomato sauce . The sauce was the hero of the dish, with it well-seasoned and just plain tasty! I just wish they had more than three meatballs to a serve!
It appears that since my visit, Shaw & Co have updated their dumpling menu. Now with pork & prawn or chicken & shiitake mushrooms dumplings on the menu.
Flat dumplings are never the prettiest things to photograph, but they sure were tasty, though a few in my bamboo steamer were bordering the floppy/soggy stage.
Shaw & Co takes classic pub dishes and turns them into something classy, all with a bit of quirk and class. If you’re visiting with friends come share a drink and a share board of cured meats, cheese or tapas; at least that’s what my plan is when I’m back in town.
If you’re visiting Townsville be sure to stop by for a drink, great vibes and plenty of balls!
Let me know in the comments
What do you think of the Fairy Floss Windmills cocktail?
Shaw & Co
373-385 Flinders Street
Mon – Sun 12pm – Late
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My trip to Townsville was arranged by
Tourism & Events Queensland and Tourism Townsville North Queensland.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.